Second Sunday after Pentecost

Readings – I Samuel 3: 1-20; Psalm 139: 1-5,12-17; II Corinthians 4: 5-12; Mark 2: 23-3: 6

From the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 25

…a man going on a journey, summoned his servants and
trusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents,
to another two, to another one, each according to his
ability.  Then he went away.

What happened next?  The one with five doubled the master’s talents.  The one with two also doubled the master’s talents.  And the servant with one dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.                

The third servant did nothing evil.  He just buried the one talent.

From the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 21, the story of the fig tree.

[Jesus] was hungry.  And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road,
he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves.

The fig tree was good for nothing.  It died.  The fig tree did nothing evil.  It just did nothing at all.  It never produced.

From the Gospel according to St. Luke, chapter 10, the Good Samaritan.  The first two travelers who observed the beaten man along the side of the road were a priest and a lay leader.  They both saw the injured man, and to avoid him, crossed over to the other side of the road.  They did not further harm the beaten man.  They just walked on by, ignored him.  It was the Samaritan who stopped to treat the injured man.  He took him to an inn.  He provided money for the man’s continuing care by the inn keeper. 

Edmund Burke, an 18th century statesman and philosopher, wrote this:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good 
[people]do nothing. 

In our Old Testament reading for today, Eli, the old priest, caring for the temple in Shechem, knew “the iniquity” of his sons.  “He did not restrain them”.  He, himself did no evil, but he had allowed evil to happen in his household.  Upon Eli’s death, his household would be no more.  Why?  Because Eli saw his sons’ handiwork and did not intervene.  Eli saw and looked the other way.  He passed by on the other side of the road.

Psalm 139 clearly states:

Lord, you have searched me out and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up.
You discern my thoughts from afar.  (v. 1)

God knows the capacity we each have for good.  From the Baptismal Covenant:                   

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons?

There is goodness in all of us. We are not to bury our goodness.  We are not to appear to be good, like the fig less tree.  We are not to walk to the other side of the road and look away. 

In the midst of this tragedy, we are to take the Light of Christ that was carried dramatically in the darkness of Easter Eve.  We are to take the Light of Christ into the darkness around us day after day after day.  There is to be no holding back. 

In our Gospel reading from St. Mark’s for today, Jesus oversteps the law of no healing on the Sabbath.  A man’s withered hand is healed; the goodness of Jesus cannot be constrained.  Goodness can not be restricted. 

As St. Paul writes to the small congregation in Corinth, we hear that we have “this treasure in clay jars”.  Yet, we are not to be shy!  We are not to be restrained.  We are to take the Light of Christ through the Pentecost Power into all the dark places of our current age.  And there are many!

Again, hear the words of Edmund Burke

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that
good [people] do nothing. 

Also, learn the words of a Roman emperor of the second century, Marcus Aurelius.                       

Waste no more time arguing about what a good [person]
should be.  BE ONE! 

God knows us.  We are capable of boundary-breaking goodness.  It is baked into us.    Let it shine!  Let it shine!  Let it shine!     


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